I miss Rick. That other people have bothered to google the keywords “Where is Rick Sanchez?” lets me know I’m not alone. The longtime TV anchor fired from CNN after calling John Stewart a “bigot” in October 2010 might have been colorful, in many ways unconventional and at times easy to make fun of… but he was great to watch. I belong to a big community of friends of Rick Sanchez who miss him and want him back.

Rick’s down to earth, pal-to-pal approach to news delivery was one of a kind. He is the first news anchor I watched who truly embraced and highlighted viewers’ contributions through social media (twitter and Facebook). When he referred to his show as “the next generation of news”, he was accurate. Every CNN anchor since Rick and those in other networks have finally warmed up to the idea of letting viewers participate in real-time by providing news feedback through social media. CNN online takes it a step further by creating the “news pulse“, which highlights the stories that people are reading most, not what the network has deemed most important. Rick pioneered social media in the news. He and his production team were ahead of their time and now he is gone.

It’s important to add that Rick was the only Latino anchor on CNN and one of the few, if any, on cable news. The void this creates for English-speaking Latino viewers doesn’t go unnoticed. Other minorities except for Latinos and Asians are widely represented in newscasts. This is much better than the alternative, but the increase in buying power of Latinos, as well as their growing political influence deserves to be reflected in the news. Can we get another Latino anchor in CNN? Brooke Baldwin is nice but she’s a bore.

I intend to download and read Rick’s book “Conventional Idiocy, Why the New America is Sick of Old Politics“. Though the book has gotten mixed reviews, I intend to give it my time and come to my own conclusions. I am also following Rick on Facebook and twitter, and looking forward to new content on his website RickSanchezTV. CNN might have fired Rick, but the viewers he empowered through his open news delivery are still following him through social media. This is, indeed, the next generation of news and Rick still gets that.

Update as of 2/16/2012: Rick Sanchez remains absent from national TV but seems to be writing freelance articles for the Huffington Post. Here’s a link to his recent work.

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